I flew back from Boracay today after spending the last four (or was it five?) days attending and assisting at the wedding of a friend whose ceremony I created.
It’s not the first time I’ve written and designed a commitment ceremony, and I certainly pray it won’t be the last. As far as literary acts go, few have been as profoundly touching and moving as crafting the rites that join one life (and the lives that connect to it) to another life (and the lives that connect to it). If someone had told me that writing as a living would be the pathway to such rewards, I would have gone into it much much sooner.
And it’s a craft that I enjoy immensely (and it really is a craft).* The challenge it poses allows me to deploy my love for symbol, for metaphor, for structure and for narrative. In a way, the process itself reflects the institution it celebrates and commences: marriage in the truest sense, the joining together of elements that functioned quite admirably on their own, but whose resulting harmony brings something new and miraculous into existence. To blend history (his, hers and theirs), setting (beach or garden), tradition (religious or secular) and taste (elegant or eccentric) to create something that was never done before (and will never be done again)—I think it’s my version of a Buddhist sand mandala.**
So to my friend V. and her husband M., thank you for the overwhelming trust and the enormous privilege—Ich wünsche Euch eine glückliche Ehe!
* It’s a craft enough for me that I’ve created a business around it called Purple Quill. If you want to know more about it, you know where to reach me.
** As Wikipedia describes it (accurately enough based on my experience), a sand mandala “is a Tibetan Buddhist tradition involving the creation and destruction of mandalas made from colored sand. [It] is ritualistically destroyed once it has been completed and its accompanying ceremonies and viewing are finished to symbolize the Buddhist doctrinal belief in the transitory nature of material life.” In a nutshell, it’s a happy version of a Sisyphean exercise.